The Q&A Archives: Identifying Wild Strawberry

Question: There is a plant that grows every spring-summer along the house wall in my back yard that looks very much like a strawberry plant. It has the same little white flowers, but and berries, which are red and very, very small, smaller than regular store-bought strawberries, but same shape, smell, same look. Are they strawberries, or are they some other type of fruit, a posionous berry? If somebody planted them, it must have been 15 years ago, before we moved to this house. Sometimes I wonder if I cared for the plant maybe it would produce larger strawberries?

Answer: You might have yourself a wild strawberry patch but you should be sure to get a positive ID before tasting this or any wild berry. If they are truly wild berries they probably won't get much larger - the store-bought varieties have been bred from wild forms to produce much larger fruit, but it's often less flavorful than the tiny wild fruit. If you want to be absolutely sure of the identity of the plant, you can send a leaf and flower along with a description to your county agricultural extension service (call them at 743-4174 for the correct address). Enjoy!

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